You sound a lot like Postman, and almost "get it." And then like him, you back away from the conclusions that should be made ...
On Sep 22, 2006, at 4:35 PM, Vince Rossano wrote:
Someone with a real message to deliver won't be heard unless the rich and powerful approve
and provide that person the means to produce and present a sound-and-light show that will wake people up from their naps on the couch.
Consider reversing these argument a bit.
If the real message takes the approval of the rich and power, perhaps that's exactly what is happening. The rich and powerful are getting out the message they want to get out. Their message is the real message. (And that is what de Toqueville was onto).
If people are taking naps on the couch (I don't think they are, by the way.) it's because that's what the intent of the couch is.
"Media is," as a President of CBS, I believe, once testified to the Senate, "advertising media." The audience is not the customer of television, the advertisers are. Television programs are not the content of the television media, audiences are. The purpose of television is to provide audiences for advertisers. The sponsor is the customer.
Luddite, schmuddite! Postman knew what he was talking about. He knew, for instance, that in a power struggle between traditional schooling and television, television will win every time. The question is no longer winning; it's fighting a rear-guard action to prevent us from losing altogether the power to think logically and lucidly.
There is no struggle between schooling and television, they are both working together. The "traditional schooling" categorization reveals this. Once upon a time, a certain class was in power; now that power is being challenged.
There is no "rear guard" action, it's right up front, and it's fueled by lots of things.
Besides reading (yes) Postman's "Technopoly" (*), I am also reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" (The Power of Thinking without Thinking). "Blink" digs into the mechanisms by which advertising messages are designed and delivered to do their product magic.
Oh, and that Mcluhan guy, his book was entitled "The Medium is the Massage", not "The Medium is the Message."
And though it's a fun book, and was meant to be fun, his "Understanding Media" really is the one worth reading. He quickly gets into the various forms of media, just as today he would probably go through the various forms of technology, showing where the are similar and where they are different. (Truthfulness, alas, or even Logic, not being crucial.)
(*) Yes, I am actually reading Postman, mainly to catalog the places in which his arguments are fallacious . His biggest problem, I think, stems from his linguistic background, which seems to lead him into "reification", believing in the "generalization" rather than the concrete. "Media" mashing up all forms of communication, "Technology" mashing up all forms of craft, and then turning their concepts into "Forces" on their own, so that "television" is thought as driving "politics", rather than "the political" as driving "the television industry."